Summary: Isaac tries to give the blessing to Esau, but God’s plan prevails.
Tonight we come to Genesis 27, and before we begin I want to take a quick look at Hebrews 11:20—“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” Something we need to remember is that this story is an example of faith (which is a little surprising given the circumstances):
26:34And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: 35Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
I think this verse goes better with chapter 27 because it reveals even more about Esau and sets us up for the following story. We saw before that he despised his birthright, and now we see that he didn’t value the same things as his grandfather, Abraham: thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: 4But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac (Gen. 24:3-4). Hebrews will call him a “fornicator” and a “profane” person (Heb. 12:16). God describes him as one that He hated (Rom. 9:13). Isaac is grieved by Esau’s worldliness, but he doesn’t share God’s perspective:
27:1And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. 2And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: 3Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; 4And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
In 25:23 it was told to Isaac’s wife that the elder shall serve the younger, and it only seems logical that Isaac should know about this. But we read in that same chapter that “Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison” (:28). Now, it seems that Isaac wants to overrule the prophecy given by God. He intends to do this by pronouncing the oral blessing upon Esdau before his death. This blessing isn’t just some nice things to say before death; it was legally binding and irreversible (as we shall see). If you read Jacob’s blessing over his 12 sons in chapter 49, you’ll find that he did it publicly with all 12 sons present. Isaac intends to give the inheritance away to Esau without allowing Jacob to be present, but God has other plans:
5And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. 6And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, 7Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. 8Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. 9Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: 10And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death. 11And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: 12My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. 13And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. 14And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. 15And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: 16And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: 17And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
I’m amazed that Rebekah even thought this plan might work.
Notice that Jacob is more concerned with being caught than he is with the plan itself.
Finally, while Isaac and Esau thought they were planning something no one could prevent, God was working against them.
18And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? 19And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. 20And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. 21And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. 22And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. 23And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him. 24And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. 25And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine and he drank. 26And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. 27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: